Women in Music 2014: PRO Pros and Five Up-and-Comers

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Executives at ASCAP, BMI and SESAC play key roles in supporting songwriters.

LeAnn Phelan, co-head creative, ASCAP Nashville

Phelan helped ASCAP Nashville take a 49.7 percent share of the country airplay charts. "If the songwriters are moving forward," she says, "the whole industry is moving forward."

Delia Orjuela, vp Latin writer/publisher relations, BMI

Under Orjuela, BMI Latin hosted the charity event Write On Vegas on Nov. 19 -- the eve of the Latin Grammy Awards, one of numerous such Latin writer collaborations this year.

Linda Lorence Critelli, vp writer/publisher relations, SESAC

Critelli has bolstered her SESAC work this year by joining advocacy efforts to help all New York songwriters and music business companies thrive amid rising costs.


Keep an eye on these women who are making their mark in urban, latin, pop, dance and more.

Rona Mercado, vp client services and marketing, Cashmere Agency

Los Angeles digital lifestyle firm Cashmere Agency reports 25 percent growth in each of the past three years, due in part to Mercado-led initiatives for such clients as Snoop Dogg (for brands Adidas, Overstock.com and Airbnb) and platinum-seller YG (promoting his single "My Hitta").

Mayna Nevarez, CEO/founder, Nevarez Communications

Nevarez partnered with mobile marketing company TMM Soft to offer a range of digital promotion tools to a client list that includes Carlos Vives, Daddy Yankee and Alexis & Fido. She has seen 30 percent to 40 percent growth yearly via deals with the likes of RadioShack for Alexis & Fido and "Game of Thrones" for Yankee.

Sarah Stennett, CEO, Turn First Artists

Stennett added 20 percent more staff as she expanded from London to New York and Los Angeles, and partnered on a Las Vegas EDM club. A highlight was when client Iggy Azalea tied a Beatles record on the Billboard Hot 100. "That's the kind of news that travels to the neighborhood I grew up in," says the Liverpool, England, native.

Amy Thomson, CEO, ATM Artists

Thomson, known for her work with Swedish House Mafia, watched client Alesso premiere the video for "Tear the Roof Off" via SnapChat on Sept. 12 and gain 560,000 views in 30 minutes. Forward-thinking moves like that led Azoff MSG Entertainment to buy 50 percent of ATM Artists for an undisclosed amount in September.

Caroline Yim, concerts agent, ICM Partners

A key player in ICM Partners' growing urban division, Yim oversees the live careers of Kendrick Lamar, Schoolboy Q and Jhene Aiko. Her roster collectively performed 930 concerts and sold some 476,000 tickets in 2014, she says. Up next: Lamar's 2015 headlining arena tour and a nearly sold-out club tour with Aiko, SZA and The Internet.

This article first appeared in the Dec. 13 issue of Billboard.